Six Things We Learned From Week 9 of the 2020 NFL Season
Week 9 won’t be regarded as one of the best weeks in NFL history, that is for sure. But it marks the halfway point and is a test to see how teams shape up for the rest of the year.
We saw some great teams face off, and even got a surprisingly entertaining Monday night game courtesy of the AFC East’s two worst teams.
Trust me, there were still a lot of things to take note of coming out of the NFL’s midpoint.
So, just as we pass Week 9, here are six things we learned from the past week of NFL football.
The surprise of the Saints
It was fully expected by most people watching Sunday night’s game between New Orleans and Tampa Bay that Tom Brady and co. would tough it out and pick up a win against their divisional opponent.
After all, they had been on a run for the past few weeks beating some playoff contenders by big margins.
However, it wasn’t Tampa who were dominant this weekend, rather their Saints opponents.
No one expected the Bucs to lay an egg like they did. But people also did not expect the Saints to come out and play like their teams of the past few years.
The final score of 38-3 was a surprisingly accurate representation of the game. No fluky touchdowns from the Saints, just dominant offensive play from the first quarter. And the Bucs could not keep up, only managing a field goal in the fourth quarter to avoid a shutout.
It didn’t help that the running game for the Bucs was non-existent. In fact, Tampa broke an NFL record on Sunday, only rushing the ball five times. This led to a disastrous performance for Tom Brady, who had to constantly throw the ball to get back into the game.
Brady had some miserable stats, throwing for a measly 209 yards and three interceptions to the Saints defense. Not the performance we expect from the GOAT, that’s for sure.
We should not dwell on the Bucs’ bad play though, instead we should look at the resurgence of the New Orleans Saints, who easily had their best game of the year this past week.
Having Mike Thomas back in the line-up helped the team to open up the field and allowed for Brees to have that safety blanket when dropping back to throw.
Along with that, this was one of those ‘Taysom Hill games’. The swiss army knife of players was able to have one of his best ever showings, allowing for the Saints to confuse the Tampa defense who had looked so good in weeks prior.
New Orleans now sits in the one seed after Sunday’s win, which is surprising considering their lack of hype over the first half of the season. And with two wins against the Bucs this year, it looks like they can seal up the division title as well with consistent play over the next eight weeks.
The Saints of the first half of the year didn’t look to be a contender. But if Sunday night’s Saints are any indication of their future play, then they’ll be a force to be reckoned with.
Who’s the MVP?
We all thought it was Russell Wilson was going to be the Most Valuable Player, right?
But then he had to go and have a poor showing against the Bills on Sunday and make the picture even more confusing.
Could Patrick Mahomes be in line for a second MVP?
I mean, he’s been great this year, and was my prediction before the season started. But for some reason, the hype just hasn’t been there.
Other than those two, the contenders are slim.
Lamar won’t be going back-to-back.
Kyler doesn’t win enough.
Dalvin doesn’t win at all.
Brady is boring.
Rodgers is in and out of the conversation each week.
It’s just very confusing.
Odds makers still have Wilson of the favourite at the moment, and there is a great possibility that he can go on another big run and lead the Seahawks to the one seed. But if that isn’t something that happens, then it’s definitely up for debate who wins.
This might be the tightest MVP race in years, and will continue to be unless anyone has a second half for the ages.
Look for a number of names to be thrown in and out of the conversation over the next few weeks.
And don’t be surprised if we still don’t have a clue by the time awards season comes around.
Danny Dimes = Washington’s kryptonite
The phrase ‘kryptonite’ was popularised in the NFL earlier this year when Lamar Jackson described his Baltimore Ravens’ inability to beat the Kansas City Chiefs.
Well, I think it’s time to start using the phrase again. But this time, when talking about the Washington Football Team and the New York Giants, specifically the Giants when ‘Danny Dimes’ is at QB.
The Duke product has a total of five wins over his first two seasons as an NFL player.
Four of those come over their division rivals in Washington. Yes, FOUR.
It’s not even like he has outstanding games against them. But somehow, someway, his teams always find away to beat their opponents.
This past week, DJ only threw for a single touchdown. While his defense done most of the work for the team.
He was even out staged by Alex Smith, the man who makes viewers cringe when dropping back for a throw. ‘Please god, don’t let Alex Smith break his legs in half!’ seems to be the collective thinking of every NFL fan.
Sunday’s win must’ve had the Giants kicking themselves over their loss against the Bucs on Monday night. A run of wins there would have had them in a good spot in their division, only being half a game behind the Eagles.
Instead, they sit on a pitiful two wins at the halfway point of the season.
Well, at least they’ll always have Washington.
Tua time is here
After a let-down of a performance in Week 8 against the Rams, in a game his team still won, Tua Tagovailoa lived up to all of the hype this past week against the Arizona Cardinals.
The former Alabama QB put up a stat line which showcased his overall impact. Tagovailoa’s 248 yards passing, two touchdowns and 35 rushing yards was the main reason for his team’s fifth win of the season.
Tua even managed to keep up with MVP candidate Kyler Murray, and eventually outmatched the Cardinal QB in the fourth quarter to come back from behind and come out victorious.
A lot of questions arose after his performance last week, which for his standards was was sub-par. But we now have the answers, and it looks like Tua will undoubtedly be the man going forward for the Miami Dolphins.
The Dolphins upset against the Cards now puts them in a playoff spot, which no one expected at this point in the year. And with a relatively easy schedule coming up for the Florida team, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that they might make a run to snag the division title.
Whatever happens though, the Dolphins have certainly positioned themselves as one of the league’s best young teams. With a franchise QB, coach and defense on display, who’s to say they won’t make some noise this year.
It’s certainly a possibility.
But don’t worry Dolphins fans, even if nothing special happens this year, take my word that the future will be as bright as the Florida sun.
The Colts’ QB question
Is Philip Rivers really the answer for the Indianapolis Colts?
In my honest opinion, and probably most people’s opinion, he is not.
The former Charger came into the season looking to fill the shoes of Andrew Luck, who was sorely missed last year. But instead he has only disappointed.
To be fair, he has had some shining moments for his new team. But if we look at his season as a whole then it’s clear to see that he has not lived up to the expectations which were put on him.
Sunday against the Ravens was just another example of why he is no longer a starting-calibre QB in the modern NFL. The inability the move and create opportunities for his offense is staggerning.
And when you couple his lack of mobility alongside his tendency to make silly mistakes and thrown picks or fumble the ball, then putting him under centre is a recipe for disaster.
One of the most startling moments of Sunday’s game was when Rivers was taken out for Jacoby Brissett at the end of the first half so that the Colts could have a shot at the endzone.
I mean, could it be any clearer? Obviously, this is a sign that Rivers has lost some arm talent. His coaches clearly know that, and now so do we.
Whether bringing Brissett in as the starter, or keeping with Rivers, is the move for the Colts this season, it’s obvious that an injection of youth is needed at that position.
As the Colts brace themselves for a run at the playoffs, their focus should also be on next year. Hopefully with a new QB, and as a result, a better team.
Worst team ever?
We’ve seen some remarkably bad teams in recent NFL history. But these dang New York Jets might just take the cake for the worst.
They had what looked to be a golden opportunity against their division rival New England Patriots on Monday night.
Up by 10 in the fourth quarter, it looked as if the pitiful Jets boasting Joe Flacco at QB were about to pull off the upset and finally, after all these years, get one over on the Pats, and pick up their first win of this miserable season.
But they went and blew it.
Was it shocking?
Nothing can shock me anymore with this football team.
They might just go all the way this year and reach the coveted 0-16 mark.
We’ve seen the likes of the ’17 Cleveland Browns, the ’08 Detroit Lions and the mid 70’s Buccaneers have some utterly dreadful winless seasons, but at least they looked like a competent NFL team at times.
This New York team, whether they are or are not, look as if they’re trying to lose. Shooting themselves in the foot possibly, in hopes to get the number one pick and ultimately Trevor Lawrence.
If that’s what they aim to do then good for them. But for the sake of the NFL and those watching the games, then maybe just try to be a competent football team.
It’s all we ask for.
The Jets might’ve just blown their best shot at a win. And with tough opponents coming up in the next several weeks, they’ll be kicking themselves about this one.
Certainly a team for the history books, unfortunately for all the wrong reasons.